An image watermark removal method for secure internet of things applications based on federated learning

Hongan Li, Guanyi Wang, Qiaozhi Hua*, Zheng Wen, Zhanli Li, Ting Lei

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Watermark adding is one of the important means for image security and privacy protection in Internet of things (IOT) applications based on federated learning. It is often inseparable from adversarial training with watermark removal algorithms. The effect of watermark removal algorithms will directly affect the final result of watermark addition. However, the existing watermark removal algorithms have drawbacks such as incomplete image watermark removal, poor image quality after watermark removal, large demand for training data, and incorrect filling, which seriously affects the development of image information security and privacy protection in IOT applications based on federated learning. To solve the above problems, this paper proposes an improved image watermark removal convolutional network model based on deep image prior. First, we improve the U-Net network model, using six downsamping layers and six deconvolution layers combined with deep image prior method to reduce the loss of details and perceive high-level features, thereby improving the ability of the network to extract high-level features of the image. In addition, we design a new type of loss function which is called stair loss, and add L1 loss and perception loss to establish new constraints. In order to verify the effectiveness of our method, a comprehensive experimental comparison was conducted on the public dataset PASCAL VOC 2012 in the same experimental environment with CGAN and the deep prior method. The experimental results show that the improved model combined with the deep image prior method can extract the high-level feature information and can directly remove the watermark from the picture without pretraining the network, the L1 loss and perceptual loss can better retain the image structure information and speed up the watermark removal of the model, the stair loss corrects the final output more accurately by correcting the output of each layer; our method improves the learning ability of the model, and under the condition of the same training time, the image quality after watermark removal is higher, and the final watermark removal result is better, which is more suitable for distributed structure of IoT application based on federated learning.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExpert Systems
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • deep image prior
  • federated learning
  • image security and privacy protection
  • image watermark removal
  • internet of things

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Artificial Intelligence


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